New Delhi: An unspecified number of Indian sailors are being held by Somalian pirates and their families have sought help from the government to free them, parliament was told Monday.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony said that while no communication had come from the captive sailors, "requests for (their) release have been received from family members of the hostages".
He told the Lok Sabha that the government had been provided elaborate anti-piracy measures including naval escorts in the Gulf of Aden to meet the challenge of Somalian pirates.
India had deployed one warship in the Gulf of Aden since October 2008 and 2,254 merchant ships had been escorted, he said in a written statement.
The minister said the India-Africa Forum had welcomed India`s support to safeguard shipping from piracy. "All concerned countries are cooperating in the efforts to combat piracy."